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21 day Best of Europe w Cary Walker

We conclude our tour today and say our farewell to Cary Walker and her assistant, Erin Hanson. This was our second tour w Rick Steve's, the first being the Loire Valley w Julian Brown. I always thought Julian would be a tough act to follow. He was sooo terrific.

This tour was grueling but incredible. We made the most of everyday, often adding much more than what you may read about. Put your walking shoes on, this one will
Take you everywhere.

These two (Erin included) took such great care of us everyday. Cary worked so hard, constantly teaching, constantly noticing every detail, ensuring we received AAA attention. It seemed like she never stopped. I would sum up her ability as a 'Traveler' guide, as simply outstanding. We have traveled the world, through many countries, often on our own. I would like to think we are very seasoned travelers. I would travel with Cary again without hesitation. She is solid gold as a tour guide and as a person.
Bob and Genie Whitfield

Posted by
922 posts

Isn't it awesome when a tour meets or beats your expectations? Glad you had such a good time and were happy with your tour guide. I can't imagine that a mediocre guide would last very long with RS.

Posted by
7633 posts

Bob and Genie, glad you had a terrific time. This tour will probably always be my favorite! As another tour guide told me, it has blockbuster sights every day! So right!

Posted by
1551 posts

Bob and Genie,
So glad you had a wonderful time on this tour (I have not done it). You mention Julian Brown was your guide on the Loire and South of France tour, well, he was our phenomenal guide on the Paris and the Heart of France tour which was my first. His knowledge of history was dazzling and his stories were so much fun! He is an excellent guide and an asset to Rick Steves' Tour Company. I have now been on 4 more tours and am about to embark on the 5th in 23 days - 8 Days in the Heart of Ireland. So excited.

Maybe someday when I am not working full time, I will be able to do the BOE 21 Days tour. Thanks for reporting back to us.

Posted by
9 posts

Hi Bob and Genie!

I agree with everything you said about Cary!

(And - it was great to meet you!)

Patricia (Pat) Brandl

Posted by
3 posts

Hi Bob. Hi Genie. You are so right! Sometimes more amazing than the sights I saw was the constant work and effort that Cary put into the day for us. Erin also went the extra mile. Every single thing on this trip was perfect. Not one hitch. I laughed once when Cary was frustrated at one point with our wait in line. It had only been a few minutes but she wanted it to be just perfect. No one can ever really understand how great this trip is unless you take it yourself. Thank you Cary for the talks and time spent with me and the group. Thank you for the patience you have. Thank you Erin for all the time you spent with me to make the trip so memorable.
And thank you Bob and Genie. I have met many people in my travels. Every so often, you meet someone who makes the trip better. You did just that for me. Thanks for the picture taking, restaurant recommendations and companionship. You were always a pleasure to visit with. You two are awesome! (see....I didn't even mention the camera thing) Joe

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the review. I am considering this trip for 2018. Were there places to do laundry at the hotels along the way? I want to pack light as Rick suggests but at 21 days it would be necessary to do laundry a couple of times. It looks like a very full 21 days. :)

Posted by
5 posts

The guide (Cary Walker) made sure we were updated on the stops where laundry might be an option for any of us. We found that it was often more convenient to stay up with washing, 2-3 items in the sink each evening, and trying for the best ventilation possible..the hotels don't make it it easy with few hanging places and no hanger hooks. You just get creative.
The real trick is very light easy to dry clothes.
My six week suitcase was 23.5lbs total, Europe plane size suitcase. At that, there were many unneeded items that should have been left behind. The most important items for me on this trip were my Keen sandals for walking. They may be not the most stylish, but they are incredible walking shoes for cobblestones and trails).
Traveling light is the key to enjoying by this trip. There are so many stores everywhere to buy anything you forgot or just need. My wife bought a medium sized shampoo and conditiioner at the grocery store there for her convenience, as an example.
This trip will wear you out because there is so much packed into each day..
oh, one other great tip - Most major cellular stores have this "Holiday Plan" mobile phone SIM chip that can be inserted into your smart phone. Ours covered all 10 of the European countries WE visited, 10Gb of data and "unlimited" messages for two weeks. I used ORange in France. It literally made my Verizon Apple a "French smart phone". The major advantage was Google Maps, the weather, and Google translate. With those three things my travel was instantly easier it was 39e, with 20e extensions available.